China Tech Today – Didi Chuxing launches exclusive driver service with half a million daily fares, & more

The ACT team hand-picks the most readable news of the day from China’s booming tech industry. Don’t miss out on these headlines:

Didi Chuxing launches exclusive driver service with half a million daily fares

Didi Chuxing announced its new exclusive driver service Chauffeur+ today. The ride-hailing company aims to roll out the service to all users at the end of 2015. Chauffeur+ will put its first focus on the business and tourism industries. Business travelers who need a long-term chauffeur can request an exclusive driver, who will charge according to the type of service and working hours. Didi’s chauffeur service is in 200 cities in China and it has more than half a million daily fares, with more than 70% of the market share.


Tencent may invest in popular millenial video site, boosting valuation to USD 200M  
Chinese media outlets report that Tencent will invest in Bilibili, a video site popular among millenials, which features animation-focused subculture. The investment may boost Bilibili’s valuation to RMB 1.5 billion (USD 236 million). Bilibili allegedly has 26.97 million monthly active users as of July, 2014, according to the latest public data. Its primary rival AcFun received USD 50 million A-series funding from Alibaba-backed Youku Tudou in August. If Tencent succeeds in this investment, Alibaba and Tencent will be extending their competition into a new area.

Lenovo releases Microsoft Surface Pro 4 contender YOGA Pro 4
To fight the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 in the high-end market, Lenovo released its YOGA 4 Pro convertible laptop today in Beijing. The YOGA Tab 3 Pro and the MIIX 4 were also released at the launch. The YOGA 4 Pro is equipped with a 13.3” display, 3200×1800 HD resolution, Intel Skylake i7-6500U CPU, 16GB RAM, 512 GB storage space and 9 hours of battery life. It’s priced at RMB 8499 -11499 (USD1336 -1807).  

YOGA Pro 4

Tencent-affiliated search engine Sogou predicts net profit of USD 100M for 2015

Sogou CEO Wang Xiaochuan told the press today that Sogou will achieve a net profit of USD 100 million this year despite only producing a net profit of USD 30 million in 2014. According to its latest quarterly financial report, Sogou brought in RMB one billion (USD 159 million) in revenue for Q3. Sogou’s valuation is already expected to have surpassed USD three billion. Wang didn’t answer questions from reporters about whether Sogou will go public soon, but instead expressed concern at the limited capital flow found in China’s third board, home to many of China’s tech startups.

Good news for Didi and Uber? 80% of respondents in state survey support carpooling 
The period for public commentary regarding China’s new ride-hailing regulations has ended as of Monday, The Ministry of Transport (MOT) has announced. According to the Ministry’s findings, most people are concerned about driver qualifications and the suitability of some drivers working in the ride-hailing business. Some suggest that drivers should be clean of crime, drug abuse, drink driving and not be members of cult belief orders. 80% of respondents propose carpooling should be encouraged. Xu Wenqiang, the Deputy Minister of Transport, told that carpooling for non-profit purposes won’t be considered as part of the ride-hailing business and won’t be regulated under the new rules accordingly.

From Baidu Image

Foxconn invests USD 4 billion in Central China to produce more iPhone screens 
Foxconn, the world’s largest contract electronics manufacturer has invested RMB 28 billion (USD 4.4 billion) in a Low Temperature Poly-silicon (LTPS) project. The project helmed by Henan province and Ying Hui Co., Ltd, an affiliated company of China-based Foxconn, will focus on the manufacture of cell phone screens for Apple’s iPhone. The assembly line will officially start in 2017 with mass production expected by 2018. This is the second LTPS manufacturing project for Foxconn in China, which will likely help to advance its industrial transformation from contract manufacturer to independent manufacturer, with the release of its own products.

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State Council pledges to stop knockoffs in three years

Chinese State Council strategizes to crack down on knockoffs sold through WeChat and Weibo
The Chinese State Council is seeking public opinion on ways to tackle counterfeit products sold on the internet, Tech Web reports. The Council plans to spend three years stopping the sale of fake goods online. The first step will be to set up a regulatory bureau for government monitoring and to allow the industry to self-regulate. The regulatory bureau will research measures to prevent the sale of counterfeit goods through social networks such as WeChat and Weibo.

Alitrip partners up with Softbank to go global
Alitrip signed a partnership with primary shareholder, Softbank, on Sunday. The two companies co-launched an online flagship store through the Alitrip platform to provide users local traveling services in Japan, with support from Softbank’s tourism companies. Prior to this partnership, Alitrip had signed partnerships with Korean Air, and the Netherlands Board of Tourism and Conventions. It’s reported an Alitrip partnership with Marriott International is also close to completion, which will be a further step in Alitrip’s globalization strategy.

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